VIDEO: Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame’s Leevan Sands Earned An Olympic Medal In 2008
By By Maria Sonnenberg // April 27, 2016
Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame
ABOVE VIDEO: In the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Sands earned his place at the winner’s stand with a bronze medal and also achieved his personal best jump with 17.59 meters, a record that still stands as tops in the Bahamas.
2016 AMATEUR INDUCTEE
• Olympic Bronze Medalist
• World Champion Bronze Medalist
• State Champ At Florida Air
FLORIDA PREP GRADUATE
While growing up in the Bahamas, three-time Olympic track and field star Leevan Sands literally ran and hopped circles around his native Nassau.
“I used to jump over everything and I was always running as a kid,” said Sands.
People began seriously noticing Sands in the eighth grade, when one of his triple jumps reached 44 feet.
“I didn’t think it was a big deal, but everyone else did,” said Sands.
By 15, Sands was already on an international team. Schools from throughout the United States were knocking at his parents’ door, wanting their high-jumping son for their own, and Florida Air Academy (Now Florida Prep) was fortunate enough to attract him in his junior year.
Sands proved a valuable addition to Falcons sports, taking the school to state level competition and walking, or actually, jumping away with three gold medals in the high jump, the long- jump and the triple jump.
After high school, Sands attended Auburn University, where he was named NCAA scholar-athlete and champion in triple and long jumps. During college, Sands began to focus on the triple jump, now his specialty.
Representing the Bahamas, Sands has achieved an impressive list of career highlights that include fifth place in the 2002 World Junior Championships, bronze in the 2002 Commonwealth Games and at the 2003 World Championships, fourth place in the 2005 World Championships and fifth place in the World Athletics Final the same year.
In 2007, he placed sixth in the Pan American Games. In the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Sands earned his place at the winner’s stand with a bronze medal and also achieved his personal best jump with 17.59 meters, a record that still stands as tops in the Bahamas.
He ranked sixth at the 2010 World Athletics Finals and seventh at the same competition in 2012. At the 2012 Olympics, he placed fifth overall, but suffered an almost career-ending, knee-blowing injury in front of millions of viewers.
“During the Men’s Triple Jump Final at Olympic Stadium, I ruptured the patella tendon,” he said.
Months of rehab on his “Road to Recovery” proved fruitful for Sands, who is now listed among the top 10 triple jumpers in the world. He credits strict adherence to a treatment regimen, plus his faith, for a recovery that has left him pain-free and ready to play.
“I am thankful to God for everything he has done for me,” he said.
With a silver medal at the Pam American Games in Canada last year, a place in the top ten at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing and qualifications for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics this summer, Sands is back in the game big time.
At 34, he knows Brazil may be his last Olympic games, and he plans to please the crowds with the courage and stamina that has been the hallmark of his career.
There are younger jumpers out there, for sure, but Sands has a “secret weapon” that has never failed him.
“I have springs in my legs,” he joked.
THE 2016 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME Banquet and Induction Ceremony will take place at the Cocoa Beach Country Club on Friday, May 13.
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT the 2016 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME Induction Dinner, call 321-615-8111 or e-mail MaverickMultimedia@gmail.com
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